Kassel greenfield airport targets 100,000 passengers in first year

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Germany's Kassel Calden airport plans to start operations in April 2013 with four carriers performing leisure flights from the newly built regional site, located around 85nm (160km) northeast of Frankfurt.

Construction of the 2,500m (8,200ft) runway, aircraft manoeuvring areas, terminal and air traffic control facilities are largely complete, with the state-owned operating company confident the airport will open on 4 April.

The facility has been built in a greenfield area north of Kassel's existing general aviation airport, which will close after the move. The two airports are located immediately next two one another, but are not connected by taxiways or other aircraft manoeuvring areas.

German leisure carrier XL Airways will start weekly flights to the Spanish islands of Mallorca, Tenerife and Fuerteventura as well as Antalya, Turkey from 14 April. Turkey's Tailwind Airlines will also operate flights to Antalya on a twice-weekly basis from April.

On 2 May, Croatia Airlines is to begin flights to Split once a week, using a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400.

And Berlin-based wet-lease and leisure carrier Germania will start once-weekly flights to Mallorca on 17 May, adding a second frequency from 26 June.

The Balearic island was temporarily served from Kassel in 2001. But flights stopped the same year as aircraft could only take off from the existing 1,500m runway 04/22 with reduced payload due to terrain clearance restrictions.

Unlike its predecessor, the new runway 09/27 is equipped with an instrument landing system. The old one allowed only non-precision approaches.

The airport's operator hopes to attract 100,000 passengers in 2013, rising to 640,000 by 2020.

The three-storey passenger terminal comprises 8,250m² floor space with four departure gates. The apron can accommodate three narrowbody aircraft, but this could be expanded in future.

The German state of Hesse - which is also the largest shareholder of Frankfurt International airport - holds 68% of the Kassel Calden site, with the remainder being split between district and local governments.